Day 023: Fatalism And Rifle Training
Summary: Kai encounters Juditha, spreads her own brand of 'inspiration' and gives her a quick rifle lesson.
Date: 13 June 2016
Related: None directly.
Elias Juditha Kai 

Grounds — The Camp

With the removal of underbrush and a half-dozen small trees, there is now a tiny clearing around the dropship. It has begun to fill with detritus from the ship, including all of the seating, padding, and removable plates or bulkheads.

Several tents have been set up within the clearing, set close together within the confines of the surrounding trees. A small collection of weapons sits under a parachute-cloth shelter by the door of dropship, open for community use. A three-holer latrine is set up downwind of camp in the prevailing breezes, and a rough wall stretches between trees at the edge of the clearing, dropship plates and felled tree-trunks stacked up and lashed together as best as the Delinquents can manage. There is a gate at the north end, a single panel that can be rolled aside at need.

The forest immediately surrounding the camp has been cowed into near-silence, but is still vibrant and green to a people used to stark metal bulkheads all around them.

Day 23

Up at the asscrack of dawn along with Kai, Elias is out there with Kai working on Operation: Pigsticker. Having just washed his shirt yesterday, he comes out to work sans shirt just so he doesn't have to sweat in it today. Indeed, there was supposed to be an attack, but it hasn't come. It's a curious thing. Perhaps it is that they were bought more time than estimated. Whatever the case, break time is a welcome thing after a couple of hours of installing sharpened stakes. "So when did you become PDA girl?" he finally asks, walking up alongside her with a playful sort of grin. "Am I supposed to be your boyfriend now or something?" It's clearly playful teasing, all of it. Seeing as there isn't anyone around.

"I'm not too tired to pop you one." Kai grunts, flexing a hand as she gives him a squint from the corner of her eye, the smile suggests she's not serious however,"You were the one that was being all PDA yesterday. I was just playing the game. Or what.. you rather I'd have kissed Cameron or someone?" she asks with a loft of her brow. She's given up on the concept of clean for now, despite Morgan's advice about you know, not getting into a fight in filthy clothes for the potential of infection,"I don't know. Are you?"

A laugh shakes up through Elias' body as he walks along next to her. He looks at her sidelong and lets his gaze linger there for a good long moment. "Yeah, so maybe I was," he says with a light roll of his shoulders. Leaning towards her a little, he endeavors to brush his shoulder against hers. There is no answer as to whether or not he'd rather see her kissing anyone else. Just a tightening of his jaw and another shrug. The final question doesn't really take him a lengthy amount of time thinking. "Yeah," he answers, grimacing in mock-thought. "I guess I am. Half of that decision is up to you, but…hell. If you're leaving it up to me…"

Kai bumps her shoulder back against his, then continues her prowl, circling back towards the gate rather than tempt fate further,"I'm not the one that went on a date with Mimi." she points out,"And it just seems kind of stupid to put a label on things anyways when we're probably all going to be dead by the end of the week. Hell, if you've heard the offer, that Sonia seems to be offering that if seven of us step up to die the rest of you will be safe." it's in the way she says 'rest of you' that suggests that maybe she's actually thinking of volunteering.

Still laughing a little, Elias moves his hand down to capture hers with curled fingers when she bumps him back. "No, you just put me on the spot with a sweet girl that was feeling alienated, you monster." Clearly joking, Elias lets out a laugh afterwards and shakes his head. There's a nod of his head to her words about the rumor. How they'll take seven people. A moment is spent thinking about it before he laughs. "You go, I go. You don't get to choose for me." His gaze lingers on her for a moment before he furrows hiss brows and lets out a 'heh'. "Kind of shitty boyfriend do you take me for, Adams?"

Kai accepts the capture of her hand with a faint sort of smile,"Monster huh? That's a new one." she leads them back towards the gate with a glance out towards the woods,"No Eli. That's the deal. It's only for you and Tink and a couple of others that I'm not choosing to see just how far I can get.. cos see.. I know where Indra is. I also know the chances of us winning better than anyone here. So do the Grounders. That trader, Bruns? Even he knows we're fucked. I need to ask Gideon about whether or not the bitch can be trusted, but I figure I'm dead anyways, if it takes just seven of us to make sure the other seventy-seven are safe..? I mean.. isn't that better, than a lot more people dying and the war not ending anyways?" they're sort of safe, the wall can see them, not that she cares when she leans in to give him a kiss.

Elias glances sidelong to Kai and lifts his shoulders in a shrug. "So you know where Indra is. What would you do when you found her?" The look he gives her turns briefly inquisitive beefore he turns his attetion back to the front. Watching out where one is going is also a good idea. Looking around briefly then, he gestures back at camp with his free hand. "I don't know. She's around somewhere. Probably still crashed out or eating." Sniffing inwards then, he reaches back and ruffles the back of his hair a bit. "I could go for a bite. Anyways, if we start giving up to unjust demands like that, we're just showing more weakness. The rest of us would be dead in another week. It wasn't us, whatever the case. That would be impossible."

"Well, if this lot would at least agree to pretend I was heda, I'd try and explain it to her, all of them have said that they would listen to a heda.. a.. chieftain.. or whatever the fuck.. where they wont listen to us." she signals for them to open the gate so that she can tug him through,"We don't know their culture, that's the problem, Eli. To us it doesn't make sense, it's stupid. But they weren't up there. Space hasn't been their consideration, the careful preservation of shit that's no longer fucking relevant.. they outnumber us. They're bigger, stronger, and no matter what a few people like to think, they're smarter in the ways that matter down here. And I can't sleep because even with everything we're doing, I know that people are going to die. A lot of people are going to die, and at least some of them will be because I'm not smart enough to work out a way to make this place safe." she leans against his shoulder, because fuck it, if someone see's they see and she's beyond caring,"That's why I traded my Ark-band. I got the seeds, in case we survive.. and a gutting knife in a sheath.. and the maps. Those maps are now the most valuable thing I own." she pets her pocket with her free hand,"In case."

It all does seem pretty hopeless. There isn't any argument from Elias on those points at all. The situation they're in is about as far south of ideal as it can get. When she leans against him, he slides his fingers away from hers and moves his hand up along her back until it rests on her opposite shoulder. "There isn't anywhere safe," he says in a quieter tone. "If there was some way to prove we here weren't responsible maybe no one would have to die. Is there even a way to do that, though? The maps'll be helpful, though." After taking a deep breath and exhaling it, he gives a look around the camp.

It’s a few hours after dawn, and though Kai has been out checking the defenses with Elias, the pair have walked back in and after an actual kiss, he’s slipped off back towards the tents. Leaving Kai to wander the rest of the distance with a frown etched on her tired face visible through the dirt that coats her.

Water is precious and it’s only a cupful she takes in order to dip a scrap of clean cloth into in order to work on actually cleaning some of her skin off, shoulders slumped with an air of weariness.

Up early, or so it seems is Juditha. The thin girl with black hair of chin-length is taking a little walk about the camp site, wearing dark grey jeans and a black jacket. Her arms are crossed before her as she pauses in her steps, seeing Kai and Elias share a kiss, because - kisses, right? The stuff that is sure to whirl a teenager's hormones about. Her lips twitch, forming a line then, before Juditha chooses to look the other way. Even so her eyes are flickering, and there is a faint redness to her cheeks, possibly caused by the morning chill.

Yesterday it was worse. Cameron decided to start a game of the Devil's Dice, aka Truth and Dare with dice, and there was much in the way of half naked and stripped down to their skivvies teenagers, and bad singing abounding. Oh, and Kai. Running a lap around the perimeter of the camp in the bandages she uses to bind her chest down, her panties, and those Guard-issued boots. At least this morning she's dressed, slathering the wet rag over her face and arms to get them at least passingly clean without redipping the cloth, mainly because what's left in the glass is drunk. Waste not, want not, after all.

It's not intentional, that her eyes settle on Juditha, but rather simply that no-one and nothing else immediately catches the ex-C's attention, the grotty would-be warlord with her rifle across her back settling for staring at the girl in distant, unblinking distraction.

No wonder there had been no sign of Juditha yesterday, when the idea of playing devil's dice came up in the first place. And then again, the black haired thin girl is so easily overlooked, keeping quiet most of the time anyway. So efficiently in fact, that since their arrival on the ground, noone had really noticed her overly much. Her eyes shift back to Kai, widening when she sees the gaze of the other girl upon her - and yes, she saw probably and remembers the sight of an almost naked Kai running a round about the camp, while Juditha had been watching from her hiding place between the bushes.

Juditha's chin lifts as she meets the stare with a stare of her own. She remains standing where she is, unmoving. A light gust of wind tearing at her black hair.

"Juditha Mandelstam, Second Child, sentenced seventeen years ago to the Box." Kai grunts as she finally places the girl. The Captain's daughter, 'Captain Buzzkill' some like to call her, the girl's father probably responsible for floating at least some of the other parents of the 100; even if his own daughter only got the Box due to her age. There's a slow blink of the grey-eyed girls eyes,"I remember you, because my mother used to tell me that we were almost the same age." there's something quiet and reflective in the way she says it, the cloth draped on her shoulder and cup held loose in her hand as she approaches the other girl,"How you holding up there?"

"Kai Adams, breaker of noses," comes the reply from said Juditha Mandelstam. Her voice surprisingly confident and calm, for someone who rarely raises it to be heard. Her expression shifts a little, the ghost of a smile there when Kai mentions their closeness of age. "I'm fine.", she replies. "Didn't get hurt during the attack on the camp, and I hope it stays that way." Her face may be pale, but it seems if the plague got her, then not as horribly as it did get others. "I'm no fighter.", Juditha adds then, after a moment, almost apologetically. Lifting her chin as she holds Kai's gaze.

There's a shrug of Kai's shoulders and a vague kind of smile,"If that's the worst I'm known for, I'm doing good." she's recently shorn her head. It was just a pixie cut, now she really has gone full on buzzcut. Her gaze shifts towards the wall with a small nod of her head,"It wont." the girl's not good about sugar coating things,"I'm told there's currently fifty of them out there. With others expected to arrive soon. If you wanted to, we've been running classes on the use of the rifles.. otherwise my best recommendation to you is to be inside the dropship. That's going to be the last fall-back point."

Juditha's brow lift at the reply, before her eyes follow those of Kai towards the wall. "Fifty, hmmm?", the dark-haired girl echoes, considering. She nibbles on her lower lip. "Isn't there…?" Words trail off in unfinished question, but when her gaze swings back to Kai, Juditha's mouth closes, her light grey eyes flickering slightly as she ponders the alternatives. "I'm no good with rifles," comes the sudden admission. And indeed, Juditha Mandelstam looks almost frail and delicate, compared to Kai's trained physique. "On the other hand… the drop ship could become a trap, when all fails." She snorts, her shoulders lifting even as her arms stay crossed before her, as if she were fighting off the chill, or maybe just the chilling thought of such possibilities. "Either way, we're pretty fucked up."

There's a small nod of her head,"They're waiting for our response. Whether seven of us are going to die for everyone else." she grunts quietly, eyes still trained near the gate,"But if you were going to say 'isn't there anything we can do'.. yeh, we're trying to find something to do." there's a faint smile,"Oh it is also a trap, but so is the compound, and trying to run the blockade. But yes, the bottom line is we're fucked. The more people who can fight, the better our chances are.. but I understand that not everyone can, or wants to.. for whom all I can do is offer you the best chance of survival possible. If you're lucky and they get the door closed, maybe all they do is they get bored of banging on the can and go away before ya'll starve."

No way are seven of them going to be sacrificed for the doubtful benefit of saving the others!

"Hey…!" Arms uncross, and Juditha glances towards Kai, her head tilted a little to the side. "If you think, I'm not even willing to lift a finger, you're wrong, Kai! It's just…" She takes a step closer, her grey eyes locking with those of the former cadet. "I think my strengths are in other areas. Give me a rifle, and I might shoot myself in the foot by accident. That's how pathetic I will be… Make me a lookout post… or something. I might at least warn you all in time when they choose to attack."

And yet the haunted look in Kai's grey eyes might just suggest that the ex-C is still mulling over doing just that. There's a slight shake of her head,"I'm not judging you Juditha." the flat gaze flitters from the wall to the girl,"Playing lookout without a gun is asking to die unless you're up in the nest." she doesn't look at the dropship, just chins in it's direction,"What you want to do, what you choose to do is up to you, yeh? You don't have to listen to me anymore than the rest of them do. Even the Trikru know that we're not all.. warriors.. and that those of us that are barely count as fucking children by their measure. Reality is that if we could be sure of the supplies our collective act of highest survival is to fucking hide.. but we don't have the supplies. Or the weapons. Or the time." she purses her lips and shakes her head,"Sorry. This shit is.. forget it. I actually meant to ask you how you liked this shithole of a planet. Actually. The opportunity to be free, at least as free as any of us."

A sigh leaves the skinny dark-haired girl, as she glances up towards the trees, and then towards the drop ship. And she bites her lip when Kai continues, light grey eyes flitting down, as Juditha evades her gaze. "Could try.", she allows after a moment. "Perhaps."

Then there is the question, and Juditha looks up. "It's… intimidating…", she confesses, as her arms come up again, crossing and wrapping about herself. "The space…. to be outside." Despite her words, her lips curve faintly upwards. "It could be nice. But right now.. Yeah. It's a shithole."

There's a shake of Kai's head,"Do what you feel you can Juditha. You know what the score is, you got to do what you feel is right, whatever that is." there's a faint sort of smile from her before she asks,"Really?" and pauses,"Yeh.. I suppose I can see how that is. Sort of different looking at all through a porthole versus all that.. height." there's a small laugh from her,"Well, you know, Cameron's growing tomatoes, and I got some bean seeds from the trader, maybe if we're lucky we might be able to grow something." they're words, the lilt on them deliberate, as if by tone she can convince herself that there's going to be anything other than grass growing where they stand next year,"You know, it's fucked up, what the Ark did. You never did anything wrong, anymore than Devin or the rest of the Second Born's. You were born, doesn't mean ya'll deserve to be down here with the rest of us."

There is a shrug and a nod, Juditha staying quiet though on the matter of growing beans and tomatoes. Her gaze shifting away into a distant expression, when Kai remarks on the Ark's politics of locking second children away. "Fuck the Ark," she says, a faint line appearing between her brows. "And fuck Jerrick. That shithead brother of mine." One corner of her mouth lifts into an odd sort of wry grin as Juditha's eyes meet Kai's gaze. "I'm here now, so I should make the best of the situation, I guess…" Her arms uncross, and she lifts her chin in a somewhat stubborn attitude. "So. Where's those rifles. Maybe I should at least try to gain some useful lesson from this." Her brows lift, grey eyes glinting with faint challenge. "Teach me."

"Tell us how you really feel." Kai offers with a laugh. There's still a faint ring and just the tiniest sign of blood, up until about a day ago she was one of the last hold-outs on wearing her band, but now it's noticeably missing. The rifle across her back is slung about her body with a 'tada, it's magic' flourish on it and a nod out towards the relatively open space before the gate,"Can't go wrong with lessons on how to murder shit around here." is the ex-C's opinion,"But you're right. Fuck the Ark. And double-fuck them if the shit with the second dropship wasn't an accident."

Juditha doesn't seem to mind the sudden outbreak of mirth. There is even a deepening of that lop-sided daring grin, and a twinkle in her eyes. "If you can live through that…", she drawls in faint joke, before her grey eyes cut to the rifle that is brought into view. "Right." Even so, the black-haired girl shoots the other with the almost bald head a glance at the latter statement. "You think they made it crash there on purpose…?"
"The feed cut out on the Ark.. on their end. Then we have a dropship that crashes way the fuck off course more than a day than it was expected to arrive. No matter how you want to slice it, it's bad. At best it was some kind of mechanical malfunction and the brightest minds on the Ark haven't managed to repair it in the last week.. at worst Mags was telling the truth and there really is some kind of coup going on up there." Kai grimaces,"Regardless, that's the reason they want us all dead. The fucking thing landed on a village and wiped it off the face of the planet." she prowls to the open space and racks it, checking that the chamber's empty and then ejecting the remainder of the bullets before she offers it out to the other girl, pulling its strap from about her in the process.

"Either one hell of a bad coincidence, or a deliberate assault on that village…", Juditha repeats thoughtfully. "I'm not sure the exact reasons for the crash will matter to the grounders, and as it is us who have to deal with the consequences…" Her hands reach out to accept the rifle, her eyes widening at the weight of the missile weapon, which she is obviously not used to. She holds the weapon as she has seen it held by others, pointing for now at an area two feet away on the ground.

"They don't. And unfortunately the way their society works, the fact that we don't have a leader doesn't help us. They are used to there being a.. chieftain.. a chancellor, sort of. They call them a heda." her pronunciation on the word is terrible, but she's very proud of the single bit of Treeslang she's managed to pick up. She reaches out, adjusts Juditha's grip, shifts her finger off the trigger and moves the stock just slightly until she's satisfied with it's position,"You don't want to touch the barrel itself, that's what that grip is for.. the barrel itself gets hot and it's just generally a bad idea to hold onto it. Don't put your finger on the trigger for any reason unless you're intending to shoot what you're aiming at. It's better for safety.. and yeh, even though I've pulled the load from this one, always assume it's loaded." she taps the other girl's shoulder,"You don't want it all the way out on your shoulder, where it is now is good, too far out and it will dislocate your shoulder.. too far in and it will throw off your aim." she taps it,"Put your cheek here and look along it." her fingers moving to touch the sights,"It should feel easy to sight along it in that position, as this is generally intended for long range targets. Rifles are shit close-range."

"Hmm.", Juditha makes in response to Kai's explanations about hierarchy among the Grounders. "So we better get someone out here to act as our leader, to deal with them?" She falls silent then, adjusting her hold on the rifle where indicated. "Okay…", the dark-haired girl nods, closing one eye while taking aim with the other. "Long range is always preferable…" A low snort leaves Juditha, before she continues. "And close range would be where I'd be running, anyway."

"Yeh, if you can convince the rest of these guys to go with it, I'll be impressed." Kai grunts and then shrugs her shoulders, prowling about to check before she gives a slight nod,"This here is the mode. You mostly want to just leave it on single. Unless they're super close and you're fucked anyways.. then full auto is known as spray and pray for a reason, y'know?" there's that gallows smile again,"They've mostly gone through the duds, but if it happens, you rack the slide to eject the dud and then load the next. We're dealing with shit that was put in storage a century ago, we should all be thankful any of the shit works and that Lip and crew brought it back. Or we'd all be dead already."

"As long as the Grounders believe the one to be the leader…", Juditha drawls with a lift of a brow. She nods then, to further instructions about the modes of the rifle. "I see. Old weapons are all we can rely on now, hmm?" Not that there is reluctance in the way she holds the rifle, aiming carefully. "So… if I shoot, I'll feel the rifle jump back against me? Just… is there a trick to keep it steady? Like, should I hold my breath?" She pulls back from the sighter, focusing her gaze on Kai. "You've already shot with these things?"

"Too many people have already taught them we have no leader here." Kai grunts with a dip of her head,"For the moment. Long term.. catch Gideon if you can. We need to learn how to use bow's. Swords. Eventually we're going to run out of bullets. And yes, you will get some recoil, that's why the positioning. There's no way to full avoid recoil, that's why you rest it against yourself and hold your other hand on the under barrel grip. You want to maintain a firm grip but don't squeeze it too hard. Know it's going to move and accept that, don't death grip it or it'll fuck you up. And yeh, this one in particular I took out one of the archers the other day and kept another pinned down so they couldn't off some of the others. We still got lucky. Some of the one's from that village.. Coesbur? They came down and managed to get the others to back off temporarily."

Juditha sighs. "I see." And again she shoots Kai a glance. "Gideon? That's the grounder who came back with weapons and stuff, to help us…?" There is a curious flicker in her grey eyes. Attention returns to the rifle, as the dark-haired girl tries to demonstrate a firm grip on the weapon. "Like this?" Knuckles are far from turning white, still she keeps it in a solid hold. "This Gideon… Why does she help us?", Juditha asks then.

"Yeh." Kai nods,"She's living with us now. Staying with Grey." which barely merits a blink from the ex-C at least, checking Juditha's grip before she nods,"Don't know and doesn't matter, really. She's dressed like one of us, wearing my granddad's shirt, even, helping teach us how to fight, brought a trader here that I got some maps off of. Her people find her here, she's just as dead as the rest of us. That not only takes some balls, it means that I've got someone I can ask about how they fight and their culture.. because we're not going to win this war using tactics that haven't been relevant in a hundred years or more. For all I used to listen to my dad and the others go on about riot tactics and that sort of thing.. this is not at all the same ballpark.. and people are going to fucking die even if I get it right."

"Uh-uh." A sideways glance there for Kai, as Juditha nods. "Yeah, I saw." Whatever it is, she may be referring to. "So, that's her name." Gideon. "But yeah. Sure. We need any help we can get, I guess. Even from Grounders." Her attention returns to the rifle in her grip, holding it, as she aims towards the wall, and then up a tree. "So this is the only training? Holding the thing, and a few instructions as what to expect when I pull the trigger? Guess we need to save ammunition, hmm?"

"'fraid so." Kai murmurs with that gallows smile again,"Yeh, there were a lot of duds in the mix as it is. And given that we have less than five hundred bullets, most of the rifles will be in the hands of determined amateurs, and that we're expecting an army in the hundreds.. it's tight, to put it mildly." she sighs,"And Trikru. I'm trying to remember, or at least.. y'know.. distinguish. They're all Trikru, technically, but I'll use that word for the one's that are actually trying to help us.. the rest of 'em? Grounders."

"Trikru." Juditha repeats the word as she puts the rifle down, ready to hand it back to Kai. A motion that may aim to make it look easy, still, her arms are still not used to its weight, and she has to hand it back with both hands. "Okay. I'll remember to refer to Gideon and the other trader type then as Trikru from now on." A faint smile that dims when Juditha adds a very vital question. "You think I'll get a rifle then, with a bit of ammunition? Might come in handy from a lookout, you know?"

"Yeh." she doesn't endeavor to pass comment about potential pronunciation, not like she's any good at saying it right either. She accepts the rifle back with the ease of one use to it's weight and loads it again,"Bruns. His name was Bruns. There's also a Wren that shows up sometimes, others, too, it seems. And probably. If you sign up on wall duty, I'll sign off on it. But yes, for a lookout, armed is definitely best. Joaquin wasn't paying attention, 's why he ended up shot to hell."

"You can count on me, that I'll pay attention alright!", says the skinny dark-haired girl dressed all in black. "Wall duty, yep. Looks like I'll sign up for that." Names of other 'good' Trikru she takes in, with a mental note made about each of them. "Gideon, Bruns and Wren. Right. I'll remember not to shoot any of them. Just Grounders." And the look that follows, a hard expression that seems oddly misplaced in a pair of grey eyes of someone this young, speaks a lot for her not wishing to end up like Joaquin, after all. "See you then…" She steps away from Kai with a twitch of a smile. "I have to go." As to where and why she does not tell, but that does not keep Juditha Mandelstam from leaving Kai to her rifle and contemplations.

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